Investing Advice

Interesting Ways to Invest in Real Estate

Yes, fortunes have been made investing in real estate. Dozens of books will give you "insider" tips on buying distressed property at bargain prices that you can make a quick killing on. Info-mercials on late-night television promise to show you how to be a real estate millionaire for 3 easy payments of $59 each.

I've read some of these books and attempted to take advantage of their methods. Maybe I've always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it didn't work for me.

Buying homes or small apartment buildings is actually a good way to become wealthy over a period of many years. Rents can sometimes cover the monthly payments while the property is rising in value. Properties that are close to shopping, schools, and public transportation, are easy to rent at top rates.

But not everybody is cut out to be a landlord. Unless the rents generate enough cash to hire professionals to take care of the endless maintenance and repairs, you'll need the skills and temperament to fix leaky faucets and leaking roofs.

My favorite real estate investment is a second home. This is a house, condo, or cabin that your family uses personally, and rents part of the year to make enough money to pay most of the monthly payments.

A vacation house is a great investment. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it. A cabin in the mountains, a home overlooking a lake, skiing in the winter, boating in the summer. Maybe a condo in Florida. A place to get away from the pressures of everyday life. A retreat that family and friends can enjoy and admire. Aw, what a dream.

Takes a lot of money, doesn't it? Maybe, but your dream can pay for itself if you don't mind renting it to strangers part of the year, instead of letting it sit empty most of the time.

Think of your vacation home as an investment that you can use and enjoy as much as you like, an investment that the IRS will let you use to cut your taxes.

Some tips:

  • Look for a property that is either at, or close to a resort destination, or no more than a 3 hour drive from a major city.

  • Houses that are located on or near water are easier to rent, and tend to go up in value the fastest. They also rent for a higher price.

  • If you're handy with a hammer, a fixer-upper will make it easier to arrange "creative financing", and give you a greater profit up the road.

  • Rent for at least one season before buying. By getting familiar with the area you may find even better opportunities. You will also discover potential faults with the home.

  • A 2, 3, or 4 season home will increase your rental opportunities. A beach house in some areas may only rent during the summer months.

  • Watch out for areas that are prone to flood or storm damage.

  • Shop during the off-season. There will be less competition from other potential buyers and sellers are more open to negotiation.

  • Use a property manager that specializes in vacation rentals. Believe me, their 10% fee is a bargain.

  • Save all receipts for money spent in any way remotely connected to the property. There are many tax deductions.

Other Types of Investments Topics:
  1. Interesting Ways to Invest in Real Estate
  2. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
  3. Bonds
  4. Bond Ratings
  5. Closed-end Bond Funds

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